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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Arsene Wenger wrong over offside calls in Manchester City loss - ex-referees

Arsene Wenger was wrong to claim Manchester City benefited from two offside goals in their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday, former officials Keith Hackett and Graham Poll have said.

Wenger hit out at referee Martin Atkinson and his assistants after the game, arguing that Leroy Sane was offside before scoring the equaliser and David Silva was distracting Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech when Raheem Sterling scored the winner.

The Arsenal boss said: "We conceded two offside goals, which is very difficult to accept in a game of that stature, but -- as it is well known -- the referees are protected very well like the lions in the zoo, so we have to live with those decisions."

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However, Hackett, the former head of Professional Games Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL), told the Daily Telegraph on behalf of You Are The Ref: "The assistant referee Adam Nunn was correct in both decisions and, in each case, they were outstanding pieces of lining."

He added: "The training process these guys go through is to have this ringing in their head of 'wait, wait, wait and see' before you raise the flag and this was a classic illustration of that. There were fractions between the foot placings of Laurent Koscielny and Sane and we used to talk about the benefit of the doubt going to the forward."

For the Sterling goal, FIFA rules prohibit a player in an offside position from "making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent." The ruling adds: "The opponent must be reasonably close to the play so that the blocking, deceiving or distracting makes a difference."

Cech told Sky Sports after the game: "I have to say that there were players in front of the ball so I didn't see even the shot. I have to say, to be honest, there were people running across and I don't know whether one of them was David Silva or not, but I didn't see the ball because it was behind the players and obviously my reaction was late."

However, Hackett said: "Lots will say a player who is in an offside position should be ruled offside but the law has changed and it was changed to stop good goals being chalked off. Nunn correctly judged that the presence of David Silva did not impact on the Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech when Raheem Sterling shot.

"Cech's argument that he was unsighted is weak. Silva is a couple of yards to his right and I don't think he's impacted on him at all."

David Silva was in an offside position when Raheem Sterling scored but was not deemed to have affected Petr Cech.

Poll, in his column for the Daily Mail, said Wenger was "understandably miffed" at the decisions but backed the officials over both.

For Sane's goal, he said "only slow motion replays can try and show for sure that Leroy Sane is marginally offside" and that, as such, giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacker was the right call.

He added: "The second is more subjective as David Silva is definitively in an offside position as Raheem Sterling shoots. For the officials his position did nothing to distract or affect Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.

"I'd agree with that view and so, not for first time, feel that Wenger needs to use his experience and knowledge to gain balance and perspective with his views on incidents."

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